Marathons are a test of physical and mental strength, pushing yourself to run 26.2 miles (42.1 km).

However one woman decided to take on India's Hyderabad marathon dressed in a sari and successfully completed the course, thus setting a new Guinness World Records (GWR) title for Fastest marathon dressed in a sari.

Jayanthi Sampathkumar, who also lives in the Indian city, ran the marathon in 4 hrs 57 min 44 sec to become a record holder to beat the GWR-stipulated target time of five hours, which was also her own personal ambition. 

Fastest marathon in a sari

The origins of the decision to run a marathon dressed in her favourite outfit go back to December 2016 when her husband jokingly commented about the amount of saris she had which were rarely worn, prompting a New Year's resolution to wear one to work everyday.

Jayanthi has blogged about her preparations for the big day, but also took time to speak to Guinness World Records about her achievement. 

Then after about three months: "I was wearing a sari everyday and saw an article about someone setting the world record for fastest marathon in a business suit. Then I thought 'why not a sari?'," she said. 

"Then I saw that Guinness World Records had a category for it, but no record, hence I decided to go for it."

However once Jayanthi decided to go for the record (she'd already taken up running in 2016), she was then confronted with working out the logistics to make such a unique marathon attempt possible.

After discussing it with her mother, the 44-year-old decided on a nine-yard sari which was preferable to a six-yard version which "is typically worn with a petticoat and that would definitely hinder the running".

Once the length was sorted, the next big challenge was work out how to tie it.

"There were days I used to be awake in the nights thinking of the sari length, the number of pleats on the left, the number of pleats on the right, how much sari to pull through, how much sari length to leave for the second loop. The fact that I was growing thinner with all the exercising kind of helped. It took a lot of iterations to figure out how to tie the sari. Once I tied it well it was fine except when there was headwind or tailwinds. Then it was quite hard."

Once training was underway though she joined up with Hyderebad Runners, which gave her plenty of motivation.

"It was a great experience. So many runners were amazed by my running attire and really supportive. All their support made me lot more positive about running the full marathon in a sari."

Don't be surprised to see her take on more marathons in her sari either.

Next year Jayanthi plans to run the Tata Mumbai Marathon, once again wearing a sari.